In this piece, I thought I’d share some thoughts on a few really simple tools I use on a regular basis to capture my song ideas.
Let’s face it, inspiration doesn’t always strike when we’re sitting at home in front of the piano. The muse may call in the car, the plane or the Laundromat. As such, I find myself relying more and more on the only tool I always seem to have in pocket; my smartphone.
These days the iPhone has become my default songwriting assistant of sorts. If a new melody comes to mind, rather than hoping I’ll remember it when I get to a guitar, I’ll quickly pop open the “voice memo” app that comes stock with iPhone and hum my idea into the phone for posterity.
I have to say it’s a pretty effective way of remembering song ideas and really, you don’t need an iPhone to do this. Almost all smartphones and even basic cell phones have some sort of voice recorder built in. You might look insane singing into your phone on the street, but hey, people think musicians are crazy anyway.
Another smartphone tool I find myself using is a free app called Dragon Dictation (opens in new tab). If a song title or lyrical idea comes to me out of the blue, I’ll pop open Dragon and just dictate a verse or chorus out loud while the app transcribes everything I say, instantly converting it to text on screen.
From there, Dragon allows me to send my (already typed up!) new lyrics to my home computer via email or even share them via text to a collaborator I might be working with. Pretty neat.
Do you have any hacks that help you get your ideas down when inspiration calls?
Mark Bacino is a singer/songwriter based in New York City. When not crafting his own melodic brand of retro-pop, Mark can be found producing fellow artists or composing for television/advertising via his Queens English Recording Co. Mark also is the founder of intro.verse.chorus, a website for songwriters dedicated to the exploration of that wonderfully elusive activity known as songwriting. Visit Mark on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.